PC rendered unusable after attempting to install SP1 using Windows Update

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  • Programs you are having problems with
Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Error messages
PC unable to restart.
  • Recent changes you made to your computer
None. Trying to bring machine up to date for my sister's family after it sat in their storage closet for 6 months.

After downloading the SP1 update. The install was attempted and resulted in a restart that told me the PC was unable to restart.

I have followed all the steps outlined in a link suggested by Michael Murphy
in another thread (Vista SP1 update RUINED my computer) at 

The person who started this thread experienced exactly what I am experiencing. No follow-up or feedback to answer.

The suggested steps are located at .....  

The Startup Repair (figure 5) has been running for more than four hours.
  • What you have already tried to fix the problem
I have followed all the recommended steps as outlined above but I am kept going in circles. I am requested to perform the same tasks over and over again without success.

I don't have any of the original software. My sister and her children have no idea where it is. I had to insert a Vista business version disc that I have in order to boot to the repair screen.

I don't want to re-install for fear of losing the Microsoft Office software that is on the machine. Again, no idea where the software is.

Any ideas would be appreciated. I want to return this machine when I visit during the up coming holidays.

Machine: HP a6130n w/ 3gb RAM

You are seeing the effects of a hijackware infection. See...

     Help: I Got Hacked. Now What Do I Do?

Back-up any personal data (none of which should be considered 100% trustworthy at this point), format the hard-drive & then do a clean install of Windows. Please note that a Repair Install (AKA in-place upgrade) CANNOT fix this!

    • How to back up or transfer your data on a Windows-based computer

HOW TO do a clean install of Vista: See the "To install Windows by performing a clean installation" (or the "To reinstall Windows Vista") section of http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-vista/Installing-and-reinstalling-Windows-Vista

NOTE: If your computer didn't come with a set of disks, there will be a hidden Recovery partition (not to be confused with System Restore) you would use to do the clean install (AKA a "destructive recovery").

After the clean install, you will have the equivalent of a "new computer" so take care of EVERYTHING in the list below, in order, BEFORE otherwise connecting the machine to the internet or a local network (i.e., other computers) AND BEFORE connecting a flash drive, SDCard, or any other external drive to the computer:

  1. Make sure the Windows Firewall is enabled: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-vista/Turn-Windows-Firewall-on-or-off

  2. Uninstall any now-invalid Norton, McAfee, etc., free-trialware which may have been reinstalled, run the appropriate removal tool (see below), then install the anti-virus application of your choice (e.g., Microsoft Security Essentials - free).

  3. Check in at Windows Update & get the computer fully-patched: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-vista/How-can-I-tell-if-my-computer-is-up-to-date

  4. If your anti-virus application doesn't include an anti-spyware component, make sure that Windows Defender is enabled & fully-updated: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/Using-Windows-Defender [1]

Tip: After getting the computer fully-patched, download/install KB971029 manually [or via Windows Update] before connecting any external drive to the computer: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/971029 [2]

VERY IMPORTANT!! =>  Any Norton or McAfee free-trial that came preinstalled on the computer when you bought it will be reinstalled (but invalid) when Windows is reinstalled. You MUST uninstall the free-trial AND download/run the appropriate removal tool BEFORE installing any updates, Windows Service Packs or IE upgrades AND BEFORE installing your new anti-virus application (e.g., Microsoft Security Essentials - free).

     Norton Removal Tool

     McAfee Consumer Products Removal Tool

Also see:

Risks & Benefits of P2P file sharing

  • http://www.microsoft.com/protect/data/downloadfileshare/filesharing.aspx
  • http://blogs.technet.com/mmpc/archive/2008/10/06/the-cost-of-free-software.aspx
  • http://www.us-cert.gov/cas/tips/ST05-007.html

Steps To Help Prevent Spyware

Steps to Help Prevent Computer Worms

Avoid Rogue Security Software!

If you need additional assistance with the clean install, please begin your own, new thread in this forum: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_vista-system

If these procedures look too complex - and there is no shame in admitting this isn't your cup of tea - take the machine to a local, reputable and independent (i.e., not a "BigBox" Store or Geek Squad) computer repair shop & have them do the work.

Note: The computer should not be connected to internet or any local networks (i.e., other computers) in its current state. All of your personal data (e.g., online banking & credit-card passwords) should be considered at-risk, if not already compromised.

Wish I'd had better news for you.  Good luck!

[1] Note: Microsoft Security Essentials includes an anti-malware component "based on Defender technologies" so installing MSE will disable Defender by default.
[2] Effective 08 Feb-11, KB971029 will be offered via Windows Update.

~Robear Dyer (PA Bear)
Microsoft MVP (Windows Client) since October 2002

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Question Info

Last updated September 28, 2018 Views 23,676 Applies to: